Sustainable Drainage in Rural vs Urban Environments

Rural and urban environments will both have different needs when it comes to the application of sustainable drainage.


The sustainable drainage needs of rural areas are much more likely to focus on large areas of land and waterlogged fields.

Many farms and other agricultural businesses are in rural areas, and therefore need to ensure their soil is of the optimum condition for their crops to grow. This won’t be the case if fields end up waterlogged.

Soakaway systems could be used for infiltration and attenuation purposes under farmland, and even upgraded to rainwater recycling systems to assist with irrigation in drier months.

Rural applications might require more heavy duty work due to the sheer size of the land available.


Urban sustainable drainage is more likely to call for applications such as car park drainage, sports field drainage and streetscaping.

There are likely to be less areas of plain land to get waterlogged, and a lot of excess rainwater will be dealt with by sewage drains already on the streetside.

However, taking care of roadside plants and features is an opportunity to incorporate SuDS into urban areas, such as through streetscaping and irrigation.

Car park and road drainage is also crucial for vehicle safety in towns and cities – roads which are not sufficiently drained can result in accidents due to aquaplaning, therefore keeping the road as clear as possible is a must.

Car park drainage can assist with preventing main waterways from becoming polluted - rainwater can collect debris and pollutants when travelling across surfaces which can lead to potential contamination of downstream waterways. Tyres can move these pollutants from one place to another, which helps to increase this possibility, so properly draining and filtering this water is a must.

As you can see, what’s relevant for one project is not necessarily going to be relevant for another. For help with starting your sustainable drainage project, or for more advice on our products, get in touch with our friendly team.